Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 101

There is a cave about hundred and fifty kilometers from here, it has ancient drawing that date back to the time of the Indus Valley civilization. Perhaps the answer lies there?
Philip reflected on the information that Rhea had put out there, the drawings might have the answer, then again how many caves had they visited and how many ancient sites had they combed to come up with absolutely nothing!
Philip had quit his job as the Professor of Ancient Indian studies to find the answer to the one question that had chased him night and day, how did astrology work? Yes, people could read charts and predict, but how did it work? Why did it work? Rhea had joined him on the quest about five years ago and so far they had come up with very little. The one thing they knew was that it was a study that dated back almost 25,000 years and something that is so durable could not be nonsense.
So, that cave it was!
They got to the cave well past midnight and in the light of their torches they explored the cold, old darkness. Bats flew overhead, frightened from their perch and the sound of an underground river could be heard faraway. Then they saw it, bang in front of them, the ancient caveman drawings. It had the nine planets, the twelve houses and the 27 constellations; Philip was excited that he was finally onto something. Yet, the paintings confused him. It was like men were coming down from a light, then going through a prism that had all these astrological drawings and then landing on Earth. What did it mean? The two of them sat on the cold floor and stared at the painting for the longest time. Philip noticed that the caveman had drawn some apes just before the men from the light. So, from apes, through the light, then Prism and finally Earth.
Then it struck him! “Oh my God! It’s a computer program!” his voice echoed in the cave. Rhea looked at him confused.
“God created us in his likeness, we could not have random lives. It would be a waste, so he wrote a program for each one of us, we are all programmed!” Rhea was still confused. Philip explained further, “Don’t you see, its brilliant. How do you program lives and yet not leave the program on Earth? If it was on Earth, man would change it, and how do you create a program that would last for a long time? The stars and the planets! They are not going to disappear any time soon!” Rhea began to see what he was saying.
“Our lives are programmed to work with the movement of the stars. Astrologers are people who can read the program, they broke the code 25,000 years ago but cannot change the code because He has kept it out of our reach.”
Rhea whispered with awe and admiration, “The best and the biggest computer program ever written!”


Fiction · Krishna · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 100 First Love

Krishna sat on the swing, swaying gently, looking at the night sky and feeling the gentle sea breeze. The oil lamps lit the hall with a warm glow and the stone under his feet felt colder, winter was round the corner. He heard Rukmini come before the oil lamps cast their light on her beautiful face, blame it on the sound of her anklets; he smiled and welcomed her on the swing next to him. She seemed thoughtful, sad even.

“Is it true that you played the flute when you were in Mathura?” she asked him. Krishna looked at her surprised. “Who told you that?”

“There were some traders who came in from Mathura and there was a talk in the palace. Is it true?” she inquired again.

Krishna nodded. “That was a long time ago. Not anymore though.” They sat in silence for a while and then Rukmini asked him why he stopped playing the flute. “I promised Radha that I would never play the flute again.” Krishna answered.

That was it!

Rukmini wanted him to play the flute for her. If he could stop for Radha he could surely start for her. Krishna tried to explain but Rukmini was obdurate, throwing a love tantrum.
Then Krishna rose from his seat, angry, “Fine if you want me to play the flute we will ride to Mathura and I shall play it in front of Radha. That is the only way you shall hear me play the flute ever again!”

Krishna called for the “Sarathi” in the middle of the night. The palace shook with the news of his anger and Rukmini regretted going down that path with Krishna. She could see that she had angered him and that was rare. He took her by the hand and guided her to the chariot. Rukmini did not want to take Krishna to Radha. She would die seeing them together. She began to cry. Krishna let her hand go, her tears ebbing the rage within him.

“I just want you to love me like you loved Radha. I don’t want anyone to be more important to you than I am.” she sobbed.

“But you are more important to me! You are my wife!” Krishna could feel her pain now and he was gentle once again.

“But I am not Radha. I will never be Radha!”

“Dear Rukmini, you are my wife and I love but no man or woman can love like they loved the first time and you know why? Let me explain. When you are in love for the first time the euphoria of togetherness is fuelled by the fear of separation. You fear that if there comes a time when you have to live without each other you would not be able to survive, that you would die and that makes you love, like you love life because you know death is coming. And then that love does end for most and most of us survive that pain. But when we survive we also understand that when love ends we will somehow survive. How much would you love your life, if you knew death would not really take it away? A broken heart knows the secret; it will survive after love has been snatched from it. Once you know that secret you can never love like that again. It is finished. I wish it were some other way but it is not. Not for me and not for you and not for anyone in this world.”

Rukmini held him tight, “O my lord. But I would die if you were snatched from me.” Krishna put his arms around her and smiled, “You see what I mean?”


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 99

Doc, that’s how all the patients referred to him and he let them. When you were a psychiatrist for the rich, you let them feel they are in control. It helped them feel more secure and it helped him to study them more easily. He had treated the crème de la crème of the city; behind their glitz and glory he had seen them broken and lonely. It had saddened him but he had worked hard to make their lives less painful.
When the Police came in asking him about Renee he was shocked to learn that she had been missing for two days and no one had a clue where she could be. He had to explain to the Officer in Charge about the patient-doctor privileges, which was always a painful exercise to carry out with power drunk authorities, that only if he received a court order could he release any of information regarding her illness. The Officer and co. retreated grudgingly but did leave a very worried Doc in their wake.
Renee was a superstar once upon a time, the reigning queen of the silver screen. She had the glamour world eating out of her hands and the youth swooning to her beauty. Then came the first wrinkle, the younger actresses and the box office disasters. From the next big thing she became a has been and from the confident superstar she was a whimpering nervous wreck.
Doc stared at the night sky outside his office window, wondering where Renee could have disappeared. Then he remembered something, he walked with an urgent stride to the filing cabinet and pulled out the case file for Renee. He leafed through the material and found exactly what he was looking for. The Officer had left his number and Doc dialed it, “I think I know where Renee might be. Have you checked her home?”
The Officer paused and then replied, “We saw a bunch of newspapers outside her door and no one answered the doorbell, so we thought she had probably gone away somewhere.” Doc suggested the Police break the door. They did.
The Officer called back to say that they found Renee inside her house, dead. She had been dead for two days. “But how did you know she would be inside her house?” the officer probed. Doc did not respond, he simply hung up the phone. Then his eyes fell on the paper in her file. As an exercise he had often asked his patients to write their fears down.
He read Renee’s fears, “Doc, I fear that one day I will be so forgotten that I will be alone in my home when death comes. I fear that no one will know I am dead for days.”
Doc sighed, went across to the window and drew the curtains on a cruel world.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 98

Let me tell you straight, alien abduction is not me going soft in the head like Uncle Will. Yeah, go ahead, laugh your bellyful, I don’t care, but this was the shyt!

I never see any grey man with big glassy eyes. Two men in them dark suits, like Michael and his brother at Sunday church, sat on a table next to mine, you know the diner next to the gas station,right? That one. So, here I am sipping lemonade and brunching on the sandwich when these guys walk to me, smile. I smile back. One be like stretching his hand out for a shake and I shake… lights out! No kidding!

Next, huge lights, like a ball park and I cannot see anything else. Standing next to me is John, the football coach, remember him from school? Yeah that one! So we look at each other with a what-the-hell face. We are standing on metal we haven’t seen ever. It feels like it has a life. Weird!

Then this voice booms but right into our heads. Not with our ears, get it? Like telepathetic… you know, right? So, they say we doing tests on your species to know you better. I be like dude, just chat, what’s with the James Bond show. The voice asks what is James Bond, I am like stop it already! John asks him to and go fornicate in more earthly terms. Next, he be like he has an epilipstick fit and writhing on the floor. This is the shyt, I tell myself. John staggers up again. Looks like his wife whack him when he come on saturday full of grog.

Then these voices say to us we got to fight each other like gladiators. I be like we no boxers. The voice asks me if I want to be dancing on the floor like John with spit shooting from the mouth. I shut up in the head.

John and me have to fight! John is football coach and all but I fix them cars and can land a cunning punch. We fight for the voices. Soon I tackle John and in the anger of the fight and the heat of the moment I want to strangle him. But I control myself and let him be. The voices asks why do I not kill him. So I say, “Cause we need to have mercy.”

The voice then asks me, “what is mercy?”

I be like, “dude if you don’t know mercy you far way from understanding a human being!”


Then I be on the diner floor with Fat Sam at the ringer looking at me like I am a Ferrari in a car crash.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 97 Fitting in

Dear Dad,

I have too many conflicting emotions running through my mind, heart, for that matter. I don’t know where to start, this letter might seem just a lot of confused gibberish. Perhaps, its just that.

There was no fun in the office without Pops. He was well into his senior citizen years but being one of the oldest employees of the office, the
management just kept him on. Secretly, the office gossiped, he was just too much fun to let go. I,being the boss of that department, knew it was just a PR move to keep an old buzzard hanging around.

The English language and Pops had huge problems getting along. He was one of those who called snacks, snakes and wrapping paper, raping paper. One time, I asked him to courier the book, ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ to Jackie and a rare sixteenth century ‘Bible’ to the Minister of Cultural affairs, you can imagine my embarrassment when he did the exact opposite.

I reprimanded him gently but the office found it hilarious, on retrospect, I did as well.
Everyday he is up to some nonsense and everyday the office, of top management graduates and sharp legal minds, make him the butt of their jokes. He is quite a sport and joins them in the mirth.

This morning he asked to see me for five minutes, he had a request. I waited for the fun to begin and asked him to get on with it.
He said with a smile, “My sons have graduated and are visiting me. They want to come and see me at the office. My request is… would you please ask the office not to poke fun at me while they are here? They think I am well respected and quite useful here. It would break their hearts to know the truth”

All I could do was nod my response. As he left my chamber I felt like someone had kicked me in my soul. I felt the tears stream down my face and rushed to the bathroom. I have no idea when I began to sob.

I understand today, “One’s tragedy is another’s entertainment.”

Then, I saw you there, I have no idea why. I know this has nothing to do with you but then it has everything to do with you. I am sorry Dad. I have no one but you to apologize for this… Like I said, I am a mess. Hope you understand.



Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 96 Fear of the Future

Part 3.

He looked up at Laura and handed the letter back, “Here I am. Kill me now!” though his eyes were brimming with tears he had a smile on his face. Laura, on the other hand, had no qualms about letting the tears flow; “I love you more than I love myself, my country or then the politicians rotting as hostages. I would rather kill myself than kill you.”

“So what do we do now?” Paulo instantly felt the dread of being watched by unseen eyes.

“We run. And I know where we can go.”

“Where?” he inquired.

“Switzerland.” She seemed to have a plan in place already. “Twenty years from now all the countries in Europe are a part of the Union of the Continent with the exception of Switzerland. They don’t have any leverage there so they cannot see or hear us.”

Paulo nodded, understanding the situation slowly.

“We have to only watch out for the keepers who will be sent from the future the minute they know I don’t intend to carry out my orders and that, in real terms, will be by tonight.” Laura was beginning to look worried. “Keepers?” he asked. “Assassins. To kill you.” She could not look at him as she said that. Paulo nodded. “We have less than a day to disappear somewhere in Switzerland. All we have to do is wait out the two weeks cause after that whatever made you a revolutionary would have happened and the Keepers would be useless.”

Paulo and Laura took the road to Milano and from there to Lugarno. The keepers landed late that night, it took them only two hours to figure that the couple had planned on Switzerland.

Paulo knew a small village by the name of Launen in the Berner Oberland region. For two weeks they staked out at a small chalet, not using their cellphones, not showing their faces to anyone in the village, not even stepping out to replenish their rations.

The two weeks passed slowly, sometimes a second at a time; then on the last day, the Keepers found them!

Laura was a Keeper herself and she fought the three sent by the future like a hardened war veteran. The Keepers perished one by one. She pushed Paulo into the car and asked him to drive. She turned around and went for the passenger seat when Keeper D/389 rose with the laser gun. She saw him a little too late. He shot her straight through her heart. Paulo screamed and backed the car into the Keeper, killing him instantly. Laura was losing pints of blood a minute. Paulo bundled her into the car and made for Geneva.

She was breathing hard and Paulo asked her to hold on. They would get there! Soon! Montreux! There was a hospital there. Paulo flew of the exit and onto the country road, it was then that he looked at Laura and found that she had stopped breathing. She was gone. Dead!

Paulo sat in the car for a day and a half. Not moving. Not crying. Just Angry.

It was then that the future discovered what had happened “Two weeks later”; they had sent him the love of his life and then killed her. They had engineered the most fearsome revolutionary of all time, Paulo Santini.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 95 Fear of the Future

Part 2.

Laura was a light sleeper and woke up to the grating of wood sliding against wood. Paulo felt her eyes staring down his back and turned ready for the confrontation.

“You know we need to talk?” his voice was filled with the pain of betrayal. Laura looked at him for a long while then jumped out of bed, grabbed a brush with red paint and wrote on the canvas, which rested on the easel in the corner, “This corner is the blind spot in the room. They cannot see this. Do not ask anymore. Do not talk about it.” Come back to bed and behave normally. “I will see you on the Rialto.”

Paulo looked at her, caught between trust and doubt. Her eyes did the trick again; he crept into bed and she after him, though neither slept a wink that night.

The next day she met him at the Rialto and wore the very same scarf, the one he had seen on her the first time they met. “You are going to find this hard to believe but listen to me carefully. The letters I write go to the future. The drawer is what we call a handy portal. It is like a doorway into time but only for little objects like letters. I come from the future, twenty years from today, where as crisis of unimaginable proportions is taking place and you are in the centre of it.”

Paulo looked at her like she was on drugs or then she probably thought he was just plain stupid. She easily inferred that look. “I know you don’t believe me and I have no way of proving it to you either. But twenty years from now there is a hostage crisis-taking place and you are the revolutionary chief that is holding the entire political class hostage. You and your men surround the Parliament of the Continent.”

Paulo gaped wide-eyed like a child watching his first magic show, “I am an artist. Why would I be a revolutionary?”

“That is what I am here to find out. Two weeks from now something happened in your life. No one knows what happened but everyone knows it is what made you into the most dreaded revolutionary of all time.”

Laura came closer to him and held him. “My love for you has been true, I have never lied to you about how I feel.” she whispered, a tear rolling down her cheek. They stood in silence for a minute and then Laura stepped back, “This came in from the future when I opened the drawer this morning.”

Laura held the letter for Paulo to read, “Do not wait to find out what happened to him two weeks from now. Just kill him.”

To be continued…


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 94 Fear of the Future

Part 1.

Paulo fell in love with her the moment he looked into her beautiful violet eyes. Her designer scarf fluttering in the cold Venetian wind, hiding her eyes now and then, as dark clouds would a winter sun. The Rialto Bridge, across the Canal Grande was where she smiled at him and said, “Professor Paulo Santini, my name is Laura and I have come a long way to study the art with which you have blessed the world.”

He welcomed her into his art studio and into his world.

It was the time when the whispers of a revolution were getting louder. The people were slowly but with certainty moving against the political class. Shadows of the coming unrest were growing larger. But Paulo did not care, for him it was his art and Laura.

Then one day he saw a letter that Laura had forgotten to put away, a letter about him, addressed to no one. It lay in the top drawer of the dresser in her bedroom. It read, “He is in love with me, I can see. He comes here everyday. Now he has begun to sleep here as well. More later.”  He was heartbroken. She was obviously on a mission. She was not in love with him; he was just a job, an assignment. But he had to know who had put her up to this.

The next day, as she went in for her shower, he saw the letter gone but there was a new one in its place, “I still have no idea what could have happened. Seems like a blur. We have only two weeks. Await instructions.” What the hell was going on? What did she mean by, “no idea what could have happened”?

He decided he was not going to go anywhere, he would stay right there near that dresser. She would have to take the letter out at some point and deliver it. That was the only way of getting answers.

He waited all day and she seemed at ease, not like she was in a hurry to get anywhere! She cooked him a meal, sat holding his hand, read him her favorite poems and then slept on his chest.

It was late at night when he slipped out of bed and opened the drawer, the letter was gone! It had delivered itself!

To be continued…


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 93 Mahabharata

Neel was finally there, Kurukshetra, the ground where the great war of Mahabharata was fought. He wanted to make it his life’s work to study and write about the epic. He also knew that it was not possible till he went to the spot where the greatest war took place. It was said in the texts that eighty percent of the fighting male population of the civilization was wiped out in the eighteen days of the war.

He stood on the ground, the sun overhead; it was hot, the wind hiding the far reaches of the grounds with columns of dust. He looked around and wondered if the war really happened, if the ground beneath him had soaked all that blood, if the great Pandavas and Krishna stood where he stood.

“You will never know the truth about that!” said an aging soft voice.
Neel turned around to find an Old man in saffron robes appearing out of a column of dust. He had a long white beard and eyes that could settle an indignant storm.

“I know you are here to find out about the Kurukshetra war, but you cannot know about that war till you don’t what the real war is about.” the Old man said enigmatically.
“What do you mean?” Neel instantly knew that he was in the presence of someone who knew more about the war than any living person.

“The Mahabharata is an Epic, a ballad, perhaps a reality but definitely a philosophy.” The Old man smiled luring Neel into more questions.
“Can you tell me what the philosophy is then?” Neel requested.

“Sure. Here goes,” began the Old man. “The Pandavas are nothing but your five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch and sound and do you know what the Kauravas are?” he asked narrowing his eyes. Neel shook his head. “The Kauravas are the hundred vices that attack your senses everyday but you can fight them and do you know how?” Neel shook his head again. “When Krishna rides your chariot!” The Old man smiled brighter and Neel gasped at that gem of insight.

“Krishna is your soul, your guiding light and if you let your life in his hands you have nothing to worry.” Neel was stupefied but came around quickly with another question. “Then why are Dronacharya and Bhishma fighting for the Kauravas, if they are vices?”

The Old man nodded, sadder for the question. “It just means that as you grow up your perception of your elders change. The elders who you thought were perfect in your growing up years are not all that perfect. They have faults. And one day you will have to decide if they are for your good or your bad. Then you may also realize that you may have to fight them for the good. It is the hardest part of growing up and that is why the Geeta is important.”

Neel sat down on the ground, not because he was tired but because he could understand the enormity of it all. 

“What about Karna?” he whispered.

“Ah!” said the Old man. “You have saved the best for last. Karna is the brother to your senses, he is desire, he is a part of you but stands with the vices. He feels wronged and makes excuses for being the vices as your desire does all the time. Does your desire not give you excuses to embrace vices?”

Neel nodded. He looked at the ground, consumed with a million thoughts, trying to put everything together and then when he looked up the Old man was gone. He seemed to have disappeared in the column of dust.

Later, when he checked into the hotel he saw a large painting of Ved Vyasa narrating the Mahabharata to Lord Ganesha and he could swear that the Sage looked exactly like the Old man who met in the dust…


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 92

Theo lay on the ground, he could not breathe and he was filled with the kind of fear he had never experienced before. He was going to die. He had to get to the hospital, somehow.

He crawled to his cell phone but there was no bloody network in these soundproof music rooms. He did not have any help, he sent everyone home to work on the sound mix of his latest composition in the loneliness of the night. It had been a terrible mistake on hindsight.

He got to his feet somehow and made it to the elevator. He could feel that his heart was caving in. He had read somewhere that coughing when in a cardiac arrest, kept the heart going.

He coughed till he could hail a cab.

One look at him and the cab driver knew where he should be taking him.

He kept his breath going till they reached the emergency room. That’s when he saw her, the doctor with the beautiful hazel eyes.

She had him sit on a chair and listened to his heart. Then she held his hand and looked into his eyes, “You are not having a heart attack. It’s a panic attack. There is nothing wrong with you. Its just chemicals that are bombarding your brain.” Her voice was soft and calm. “But it feels so real,” he said, gasping. “It does. I am here don’t worry. Will give you a medicine and hold your hand till it gets better.” she assured him.

She did hold his hand. He did get better.
The next day he was back and the day after that and everyday of that month till she promised to hold his hand forever.

Years later she asked him what made him fall in love with her. He kissed her lips and answered, “Every man loves a woman who holds his hand on the worst day of his life and tells him its going to be okay.”


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 91 Keeping up

Mila boarded the late night flight to New York, she did not want to stay up and deal with her personal gloom on a long flight. A sleeping pill and the late hour would assure that she woke up in time with the touchdown at JFK International. And much to her relief that is exactly what happened.

She was there to see her Father, the crazy bohemian, who stayed alone in a Mid-town Manhattan apartment, churning his novels and dating cocktail waitresses. Perhaps she was just like him? Was that why her marriage was on the rocks? Was he the right person to go  for relationship advice? Well, she was there and if the advice was nonsense she could catch up on some Broadway shows.

Her Father was delighted to see her and enveloped her in a huge fatherly bear hug that instantly made her feel safe. “You running out of love in your marriage, eh?” he grinned as he posed the question. She couldn’t help laughing out loud, he was a nutcase, beaming at her crumbling marriage.

They did not talk anymore on the morbidity of compulsive togetherness. He had an appointment with a publisher and had saved the evening for their chat. She was glad to sleep some more.

The New York skyline lit up the lounge as the Father and Daughter sat watching the flickering lights, nursing their drinks.

“There are two ways to talk about your situation, endlessly or precisely. Which do you prefer?” he smiled at her lovingly. “Precisely, if possible.” she replied, relieved there was a precise way.

“Tell me the foremost thing that troubles you about your marriage?” he quizzed.

“Its not the same anymore, nothing is… We fight all the time, we bicker… He is not who I married. It’s just so sad.” she found her eyes well up with tears.

Her Father held her close, “That is the precise point. Everything changes. You change too. Change is the only constant.”

“But then where has the love gone, Dad?”

“You know what love really means Mila? Love is nothing but the ability to keep in step with the change that occurs in the person you love. You keep in step with him and he with you. That’s all love is. I realized I did not have the ability and left it all. Now you have to ask yourself, do you have the ability?”

He continued to hold his daughter and she clung to him. Then she smiled. She knew he would have the answer.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 90

He left her in the middle of the night, the night their son was born. When she heard the news she was devastated. Yet, she did not complain but her life lost all meaning. The only reason for her to live now was her son. She wanted him to grow up to be a man that the world would look up to.
Her friends and relatives came around and asked her to forget about the man who had left her and start life again. They asked her to marry again but she refused. She was young and beautiful and suitors queued up outside her door, but she refused each one of them.

As the years went by she turned into a shell of her former self. She ate only one meal a day, did not care about how she looked, hardly slept the long nights and focused only on her son.

Then one fine day he came back!
He stood in front of her and she could hardly remember him as the man who had left her. “They call you the Buddha now?” she asked him gently. “I hear they do,” he answered in a calm fashion. “What does it mean?” she further inquired. “I think it means the enlightened one, a knower,” he informed. She smiled and then a silence.
“I suppose we have both learned something. Your lessons will make the world richer in spirit, but my lesson will unfortunately remain largely unknown.” she reflected deeply.
“And what lesson is that?” he probed.
Her eyes sparkled with unshed tears, “That a woman alone does not need anyone to complete her. She is complete on her own.”